Thursday, December 28
Jesus, A Faithful Jew and Deliverer for the People
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
People had been looking for a sign that God would send someone to deliver them from their occupation by Rome. Simeon had been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. When he saw the baby, Jesus, he recognized him as the savior they had been waiting for. He rejoiced that the deliverer had finally come!
Israel had already had a long history of slavery, then deliverance. Wandering in the wilderness, then deliverance. Exile, then deliverance. Now occupation, and the hope of deliverance. Even in our own history, Jews experienced the horrors of the holocaust, and then... deliverance. God's faithfulness to Israel has never ceased, even to this day.
Christians follow Jesus as the one who delivered once and for all. Jews continue to follow the God of their ancestors, and are still looking for the deliverer that will save once and for all. I believe both are following the faith lives that makes the most sense for them. Christians can learn a lot from the history and traditions of Judaism. In fact, we can learn a lot from the history and traditions of many faiths that are alive and active today. We do not have a monopoly on faith. We may not be the only religion that leads to enlightenment. Perhaps by opening ourselves to the stories of people of all faiths, we can learn even more about ourselves, too. Simeon wasn't looking for a Christian savior. He was looking for a Jewish one. He found a Jewish one. Jesus was born and raised a faithful, religious Jew. Oh, what we could learn by opening ourselves to Jesus' own traditions!
Narrative Lectionary Text: Luke 2:21-32
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”